History of the Flag of Co. I, 6th N.C.T.
Also known as the (CEDAR FORK RIFLES/ the MORRISVILLE GRAYS/
the North Carolina GRAYS)
Speached delivered to a veterans renion in1892.
Mr. President and Survivors of the North Carolina Grays
Thirty one years ago in behalf of the ladies of Cedar Fork, I presented to the North Carolina Grays--then a company in Col. Fisher's 6th N.C Regt; this flag. It was on the eve of war; a war that raged fiercely for four long years. In that terrible struggle your company did its duty. We were proud of you then, as over one hundred strong, we gave you this beautiful banner, and with our prayers for your success on the field of battle. We are proud of you today though only a remnant ....veterans of many hard-fought fields, where immortal glory was seen for North Carolina Soldiers. the .... of the soldiers from the Old North State for gallantry in the field, patience on the weary march, and suffering in hospital, is ....-wide, and our company contributed ....(some?) to achieve that same ....that company to .....this banner, consecrated by many men's lives and tears and frayed, was presented on the 1st June 1861.
The incendiary's torch has burned the old Academy, where as ... students from the upper story, the girls watched the boys taking their first lessons in Military matters. Maj. York then the Principal of the Academy was the Drill Master. How little did we think that those boys almost in an instant would be transformed into Soldiers; and the little Cadet Corps expanded (?) into a regular Company. Nearly every one of the boys in Cedar Fork Academy went off in the Company and formed good Soldiers.
The quiet of the Schoolroom was disturbed by the news of the fireing on Fort Sumter. Every train that passed gave fuller and further particulars of the opening of the first great contest of the war. The Academy suspended its literary exercises, and in a day or two a large company had grown from the little Cadet Corps. The Academy was used as barracks, the drilling went on with great earnestness and rigor to prepare themselves all the better for the conflicts of the war.
The ladies entered into this struggle with as full a determination to do a woman's duty in the war as the men.
A Ladies Aid Society was formed to which nearly every lady in the community belonged.
It's Officers were Mrs. Lo..York, President, Mrs Lizzie Weatherspoon, Secretary and Miss Fannie Lyon, Treasurer. All of whom are dead except myself and nearly all the members too had crossed the river to rest under the shade of the trees. The Company had to be equipped. The uniforms for nearly 120 men to be made; the tents that were to shelter them; the haversacks that was to hold their rations. All this was done by our Society of Ladies, and more; such as Military blouses and covering the canteens (???) for the men. All this was done by the ladies lovingly and cheerfully done with their own fingers; for there was not a sewing machine at that time in all this country. All this heavy stitching of Military Suits, tents and canteens was done with our fingers. Besides this, we prepared an abundance of lint and bandages for the wounded which troubles was of great service to the wounded on the many fields of battle where your gallantry helped to fill the measure of North Carolina's Military fame. In the Fall of 1861 we made nearly all the overcoats for the company; and throughout the war we tried to do our duty and our whole duty as women at home while the boys were doing their duty in the .....field. The ladies of our Society tried to be as brave in their duty at home as the Soldiers in the war.
.........By the 1st of June, 1861, the Company had drilled enough to be ready for the regimental camp of instructions and by the vigorous use of our fingers we had them equipped for the field. It then came into our hearts, that we would present the company with a beautiful banner. Quickly the forty dollars were raised. Miss. Partridge of Raleigh was selected to make it, and it is all her handiwork. With hearts full of devotion to the cause and sincere affection for the Soldiers, this banner was presented on the 1st of June 1861 by me in behalf of the Ladies of Cedar Fork. In a day or two the company, with that banner left. Through the vicissitudes of war, after our absence of thirty one years it comes back today to the old home of the Company. It floats in North Carolina's breezes today; here where are still the old drill and parade grounds.
These colors were captured in war, but not in battle. After the battle at Gettysburg, the Federal troops occupied Manassas and Bristoe. Down on the Potomac in the same country where the Company spent the winter of 61 & 62, Kitcheloe's battalion of partisan rangers had their home. They were about 150 strong, and were a terror to the Federal picket posts and their foraging expeditions. In the fall of 1863, a strong force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery was sent against them under the command of Col T. W. Higgins of 73rd Ohio Regt. Unfortunately the house in which the officers trunks were stored, had become the headquarters and rendezvous of Kitcheloe's battalion; then it was captured, Cap't York's trunk in which the flag was, shared the fate of everything captured in war. Thus the flag passed into the possession of Col Higgins the Commander of the expedition against Kitcheloe on the Potomac. Col Higgins was brave and gallant on the other side. He was as honest as you He gallantly fought to prevent the dismemberment of this grandest Union of the states. He as fully ....your gallantry, and your devotion to a cause you loved.
"But the war is over with me" said Col Higgins. " shall return the flag to the surviving veterans of the North Carolina Gray" I am commissioned by him to present this beautiful banner, made sacred in war, made sacred by the memories of the dead soldiers who were mutilated over its folds; made sacred by the ...survivors of the North Carolina Grays! Veterans of Co. I 6th N.C. Regt! In behalf of Col Higgins I present you, today, your flag. Captured in war, but not in battle. Ye veterans of the old North State, whose gallantry has helped emblazon Carolina with glory, receive your colors again in your old home. They come from those were once your enemy; now your friends.
Mine is only the form, frail; but proud and willing hand, that bears these colors from the Soldiers of the North to the Soldiers of the South= All citizens again of one common country.
Fannie Lyon Lowe
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